Monks make, donate casket for youngest victim in Arizona shooting
By Eric Marrapodi and Kara Devlin
A group of Trappist monks in Iowa have donated a handmade casket to bury 9-year-old Christina Green, the youngest victim in the Saturday attack that killed six and wounded 13 others in Arizona.
Sam Mulgrew, the general manager of Trappist Caskets in Peosta, Iowa, told CNN a family representative of the Greens reached out to the monks at New Melleray Abbey near Dubuque after her death. The custom-made casket arrived in Tucson, Arizona, Wednesday morning.
“We didn’t want to send an adult coffin that would be too big, we wanted something just for her,” said Mulgrew, who is not a monk but who manages the 11-year-old casket business that is part of the abbey.
The casket, crafted from red oak, was made especially for 9-year-old Christina, Mulgrew said. She died after a gunman opened fire at a constituents event held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in the shooting.
Christina’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Tucson.
The lid of the casket was inscribed with her name, date of birth and death, and a cross. The family also will receive five small keepsake crosses hewn from the same wood as the casket, Mulgrew said.
Before the casket was sent from the monastery in Iowa to Arizona, the monks gave the casket a special blessing inside their chapel on Tuesday.
The monks are Roman Catholic and are part of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. They make and sell custom caskets with “reverence for nature,” according to the Trappist Caskets website.
“Along with prayer and study, our casket ministry is an extension of our sacred work. We labor quietly with our hands in support of our life of simplicity,” says a statement on the website.
Mulgrew said when a child dies it hits the monks particularly hard. He said they don’t like to sell children’s caskets; instead, a “child casket fund” they started often covers the costs.